Learning To Be A Member Of The World Community

June 22, 2010 by  
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I get all choked up when I see a fire truck or an ambulance rush by and all the cars move out of the way.  It’s not that I’m attracted to the pain happening to someone else, it’s that my emotion comes from observing that for a moment a great many people come together to assist someone they don’t even know.

I was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and then lived in NYC for many years.  For some reason in those cities people don’t really pay much attention to ambulances.  But here in Los Angeles all the cars move out of the way.  Maybe that’s the reason why this event has caught my attention, the ambulance determined to get to its destination on time so it can save a life and all the surrounding drivers assist in the mission.

You might be thinking “why is she going on and on about ambulances?”

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Getting On With Life After A Partner Dies

June 15, 2010 by  
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lov1fetA friend of mine sent me a NY Times article (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/15/health/15brod.html?scp=1&sq=Jane%20E.%20Brody%20Personal%20Health&st=cse) “Getting on With Life After a Partner Dies” written by Jane Brody.

The article describes how she and other widows and widowers have coped with the loss of a partner by filling up their days and trying to turn their loss into something positive.  She goes on to site examples of different people whose energy and attention turned to concrete accomplishments after the loss.  She writes experts call this phenomenon “psychological resilience”.

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What’s Kissing All About?

May 13, 2010 by  
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Do you remember your first kiss?  Mine was on a motorcycle at the top of a mountain when I was thirteen years old. The boy I was kissing was seventeen.  Earlier he asked if I wanted to go for a ride on his motorcycle.  I said yes.  I was so excited, I knew my first kiss was going to be happening soon.  So I hopped on the back of his bike and off we went.

We rode around until we got high up and could see all the streets and houses below.  We were in the mountains in the state of Rio de Janeiro, where I grew up.

He turned his bike off and we both got off.  He was nervous but managed to ask if I wanted to be his girlfriend.  I too was very nervous but also managed to say yes.  And then it happened.  His lips moist and full touched mine.  Then without being taught anything I just instinctively opened my mouth and my tongue and his touched.  All these amazing feelings started rushing in and at age thirteen I was being baptized into the sensual world of adulthood. Read more


Love Sometimes Can Be A Strange Thing

May 5, 2010 by  
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I have lived away from my parents for two decades.  I was raised in small very tight knit family with its own set of issues like any other family.  At age eighteen I went to NYC and never went back home.

The decades I spent away from my family were filled with visits where I would resist going back to see them and then would cry all the way back from Brazil to the US.

I have learned, over time, that my love for my parents is so strong that unconsciously I started a self-preservation process of rejecting them in order not to feel the separation.  Of course this has never worked out well the result being; guilt and inner-conflict.

A couple of days ago, going to the beach (I’m still visiting Rio) with a childhood friend we talked about our families’ history and she said: “we put our errors and discords behind so we can move forward, because we love.”

So I have learned I have rejected and trivialized situations in my life because they were too much for me.  My “self” was trying to survive without realizing the damage it was actually causing.

Living life involves loving with all our hearts and involves hurt when the people we have loved are no longer with us.  Holding our love back does not save us from the hurt as love is powerful and sooner or later breaks through the dam with all its might.

We can not change the past but we can make a new present which will have a different ending.  When I feel bad of all that has gone on before I remember I am looking at my past with the heart and the mind I have today and not the mind and the heart I had yesterday.  And I remember I’m making a new life today.


Shaking Things Up

May 3, 2010 by  
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I’m in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where I was born and raised.  I’m here visiting my parents and friends I still have from when I was a little girl.

When I travel, I’m often reminded about how important it is to take a break from the place and situations I live in. Let me explain: seeing other people and locations that have no direct relationship to my day to day, helps me see things from a different perspective.

When we never take a break from our life, as beings of habit, we tend to respond and see our lives the same way time and time again.  I’m not saying issues go away.  But I am saying we get to see them in a different way. We get to put them in a different perspective.

Solution, inspiration and energy come from allowing creativity to exist in our lives.  Creativity requires time, space and change.  So if we stay stuck in our routines, whatever they are, eventually our lives become stuck.

Now, I know not everyone can take off to Brazil.  And not everyone can take off at all. But we all can take small brakes within our time and financial constraints.  We just need to be interested in doing so.

I’m suggesting in being creative and courageous to try out different things on a regular basis to give ourselves the different perspective that a trip to a foreign country can give us.  Going hiking, to a museum, to the beach, bike riding, checking out all the different “meet-up” groups (www.meetup.com) in our area to join new people and do different things that are attractive to us, buy half-priced tickets to a concert or a play, are just a few ideas on how to take a break.

What I’m trying to say is let’s find things that take us outside of our comfort zone and do them on a regular basis.  Staying stuck is easy, changing our perspectives takes resolution.

Making a list of what these things are, and crossing them off as we go along, is a good a way to make sure we will follow through on this idea of shaking things up.

Life goes really fast and our purpose is to grow as human beings, learn about ourselves and others and find contentment.  Being stuck is not a path to happiness.  Feeding our creativity is.


Appreciating What We have

April 15, 2010 by  
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I was invited to dine yesterday with a couple from Brazil plus a few other friends.  I didn’t know the couple but knew of them. She is shorter than me, I’m 5’2″, and in her later 40s or early 50s.  He is about 5’8″ , overweight and in his early 50s.

We all started talking and eventually the subject turned to my losing my husband to cancer. The woman was moved with the way I described my relationship and the journey my husband and I took to fight for his life. Then she said that at least I had experienced true love, something she added she had never experienced.

I was taken aback by her statement being that her husband sat net to her.  Maybe they have some different type of relationship, I thought.  So I asked her how she and her husband had met.  She said it had been at a spa.  She was quick to add it had taken her a while before she agreed to go out with him because of his weight.  I again thought it was strange that she would refer to her husband as fat in front of others.  Did he not care? Finally she shared that her husband’s first wife had also died of cancer.

You might be thinking why I am sharing all this and here it is; as I continued to dine I realized the woman had a fantasy of what her partner should look and be like and her current husband did not fit that picture.  She was so conflicted by the discrepancy between her creation and her reality that she could not see she was married to a very nice man who adores her.  Her anger in feeling trapped is stopping her from fully appreciating the relationship she has.

When I woke up this morning I again thought about the couple and was saddened by how we sometimes don’t appreciate and enjoy our lives because we are so busy chasing an idea.  It was a good reminder of how important it is for us to live in the present and deal with life as is.  And that is why I’m sharing this story.


Madonna, Kabbalah And Spiritual Trends

November 28, 2009 by  
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So I’m here in my native town Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, producing a Canadian film.  About ten days ago Madonna was in town collecting money for SFK and her Raising Malawi charity.  SFK stands for Spirituality For Kids, a Kabbalah Center effort and Raising Malawi is a Madonna, Michael Berg (son of Kabbalah Center founder) project.

Her stay here was very profitable; it seems that she was able to get a $10,000,000 pledge from a couple of business men as well as a commitment from Rio de Janeiro’s mayor to apply the educational and spiritual methods of SFK to Rio de Janeiro public schools.

While I believe that every child in this planet is entitled to help, I wonder why these same business men don’t usually invest in taking the thousands of children off the streets of their own towns as well as help the other thousands that live in favelas (shanty towns) that surround their homes.  The answer is simple: Madonna.

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November 8, 2009 by  
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In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil people always refer to each other as sir and ma’am and somehow it doesn’t feel stuffy but it feels respectful.  People often also say: “Stay with God” – literal translation – and as I’ve shared before my views on the existence of God veer more to human and scientific, but I still like to hear “stay with God”, because it means that person is wishing me well in the most profound way that he or she can.

Some other nice things in Rio: clapping when the sun sets on the beach, and when the moon comes up. Massage on the beach, fresh coconuts, and lots of friendly faces.

One of the bad things that I’m reminded when I’m here is the entitlement of the wealthy.  Words like thank you are seldom used when the rich deals with the poor.  The “you work for me or I’m paying you” thinking precludes people from thanking others.   The centuries of a non-existing middle class also contributes to that type of behavior.  But things are changing in the socio-economic make up of Brazil.

I spend a lot of time observing my behavior and of others.  Maybe because I write so much, but observing teaches me a lot about humanity and if I’m diligent with taking steps I can affect changes in my own behavior and life.

Lately, I have really been thinking how often we misconstrue what other people mean and think.  I’ve learned that what is important is our own intention and goal.  What do I want to accomplish?  And then follow through with that without wondering why others are doing and thinking certain things and getting stuck in that.  It isn’t because we shouldn’t be concerned about others but because it is too hard to know the intentions of every person we have to interact with on a daily basis.  We also can’t please everyone, so if our intentions are good and we are clear we should aim for our goal.

I’ve also realized how fighting to feed and support my ego can really get in my way.  So much energy can be wasted by trying to prove that I know more, that I’m better than or any other thing like that.  What a waste.  Instead of being side tracked by proving something to someone, if I use that same energy to succeed and accomplish the result, that will be proof enough and without any stress.

This stay here in Rio, while I work on the production of a feature film, will be an interesting time for me to observe how much I actually have or not changed.  Anytime we go back to the place we were born and grew up in, it becomes clearer how much or little we have actually changed.  And I’ll be certainly sharing it all here.  Looking forward.


The Magic Of Holding Hands

August 3, 2009 by  
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When I first moved to New York from Brazil the thing I missed the most was human contact.  In Brazil, when you meet someone you give them one kiss on each cheek instead of shaking hands.  You also often hug and hold hands with your family and friends.  So I caught myself going to get a manicure more often than I ever had anytime before in my life just to have my hands held.

As I think about it when babies, touching and holding is how we communicate and experience the world.  As we start to walk, an adult holding our hand gives us the courage and the safety to take those first few steps.

As we become kids we hold hands with our friends and when we start dating holding hands becomes a whole new experience.

What I most miss about my physical experience with my husband is strolling in the neighborhood on a Sunday morning holding hands.  On those moments I felt safe and a part of something bigger than just me.

I wonder why in this country we are so hesitant to touch each other.  Why must we shake hands instead of a kiss or a hug?  Why if not dating someone we need to go to have our nails done so someone will hold our hands?

I did a little digging on the web and what I came up with as answers were that today hand holding means commitment (between partners) or the streets are too crowded for hand holding or we are too busy to make time to hold hands.  To me these all seem silly reasons to not do something that is so easy and can affect the way we feel in the world. 

If you don’t believe me below is an excerpt of a New York Times article proving my point.

“Based on what we’ve seen, when we get more physical intimacy we get better relationships, whether a mother and an infant or a couple,” said Tiffany Field, the director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine.

Even monkeys understand the importance of a hand squeeze every now and then. In “Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals,” Dr. Frans B. M. de Waal, a primatologist at Emory University, wrote that some monkeys hold hands in reconciliation after a fight.

James Coan, an assistant professor of psychology and the neuroscience graduate program at the University of Virginia, has studied the impact of human touch, particularly how it affects the neural response to threatening situations, and said the results of a recent study were more dramatic than he expected.

“We found that holding the hand of really anyone, it made your brain work a little less hard in coping,” Dr. Coan said, adding that any sort of hand-holding relaxes the body.

I do love this country but I’m reverting back to my Brazilian habits when it comes to hugging, kissing and holding hands and if anybody says anything I’ll always have the excuse of being born in Brazil.


Sean Goldman

July 27, 2009 by  
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I was just reading today on CNN.com the updates on a custody case between a biological American dad and a Brazilian step dad.  In the middle is a nine year old child named Sean.

Quickly, the story is, American man marries Brazilian woman in New Jersey and have a son, Sean.  Brazilian woman takes son to Brazil for a vacation.  Once there Brazilian woman calls American dad and tells him she’s not coming back.  American dad goes to a New Jersey court and gets full custody.  Brazilian Woman goes to court in Brazil and gets custody.

Brazilian woman marries another man, Brazilian this time.  Brazilian woman gets pregnant but dies during child birth.  Now Brazilian stepdad does not want to return Sean to American dad because he says he loves the boy like his own son.  The Brazilian woman’s family also does not want to return the boy.  In the meantime the 9-year old is being pulled in all different directions.

What a drama!  Everyone loves and wants to keep this boy for their own reasons but I do think Sean needs to be returned to his American father. 

Sean has been living away from his dad since 2004 in a very privileged home environment in Brazil but something must feel amiss to him; his mom is now gone and his dad, who by all accounts had a loving relationship with him, is not in his life. 

I’m sure Sean’s stepdad loves him but so does his real father, David Goldman.  The courts say the parents don’t really matter as much as what is best for a child.  But truthfully in this case who knows what is best for Sean Goldman? 

My suggestion would be to return Sean to David and give them a chance to have a relationship and if in a couple of years from now Sean is unhappy and wanted to return to Brazil, he then should be allowed to do so.

Bruna the mother, made a mistake by kidnapping Sean from his father.  At that point in time she was thinking about what made more sense to her, not what made more sense to Sean.  Why are the courts so reticence in rectifying a mistake done by a woman who was in search of her own happiness in spite of how that would affect her son?

Why is that the stepfather believes that his love for Sean should trumped a stolen relationship?


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